Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch BBQ has always been one of my favorites. When I heard that it would be closing for good on January 11th, 2016, (in order to make room for Star Wars Land) I knew that I needed to plan a few visits.
One of the fun things about Big Thunder is that the decor changes seasonally. It’s currently decorated as the “Halloween Round Up.” And when I say decorated, I mean decorated. They pull out all of the stops, everything from the table coverings to each and every flower scream Halloween! This guy greets you at the entrance.
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is often quite crowded, so I strongly recommend a reservation. On the day that we were there, I saw many people being turned away because they were already 100% booked up with reservations. Upon arrival, you’ll check in and will be given a pager.
I love the pager system because it allows you to roam a bit and check out the decor.
I caught my kids knocking on these giant pumpkins because they didn’t believe they were real. They are, in fact, real!
I love the vintage style decor on the posts near the dining tables.
And this Halloween quilt! Isn’t it adorable?
Who doesn’t need a barrel full of Candy Corn? And what are Groats?
You’re also close enough to get some time in with the Big Thunder Ranch residents! We happened to get really lucky and be there to watch them line up and “run home” to their stable.
Once your pager buzzes, it’s time to head to the Halloween Round Up sign where a cast member will greet you and show you to your table.
Tables at the BBQ are picnic style.
I love the Fall details on the tablecloths.
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is an all you can eat family style meal. Pricing is $29.99 for adults and $12.99 for children ages 3-9. The price includes bottomless drinks and “All you care to enjoy” BBQ Chicken, Ribs, Sausage, Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Coleslaw, and Corn Bread. If you are a vegetarian or have a vegetarian in your party, make sure to ask for the Vegetarian Skewers upon ordering drinks. The veggie skewers feature Potatoes, Squash, Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, and Tofu.
Before your food starts coming out, drink orders are taken. Bottomless options include Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Orange Fanta, Lemonade, Root Beer and Iced Tea. I actually ordered an Arnold Palmer and the cast member was happy to mix a lemonade and iced tea for me! All drinks are served up in Mason Jars.
After the arrival of your drinks, the fun starts! First up… A delivery of plates and utensils.
My boys are all about the meat bucket. It’s filled with BBQ Chicken that falls off the bone, Ribs, and flavorful Kielbasa style Sausage.
Personally, the sides are my favorite thing at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. The accompaniments make up the perfect BBQ dinner! I love baked beans and the ones served here are fabulous.
The mini Corn on the Cob “Wheels” are also a hit. The corn is juicy and flavorful with just the right crunch. They’re cut into smaller pieces, which I love. They’re perfectly kid sized, and if one isn’t enough you can always grab a second!
The Coleslaw at Big Thunder is also great. It’s not at all watery nor is it too heavy on the mayonnaise.
A perfect BBQ meal wouldn’t be complete without corn bread, and since this is a pretty perfect meal… Here you go! These Mini Corn Bread Loaves are amazing. Served warm with Honey Butter, these little beauties will become a fast favorite.
A combination platter that you create yourself makes this a perfect meal!
The only thing not included with your meal at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is dessert. AND I highly recommend saving room for some. The dessert menu is already on your table when you are seated. Reason being, some of the desserts take about 20 minutes to prepare, so you need to pre-order them.
The S’mores Bake is one of the most popular desserts at Big Thunder.
It consists of a giant Warm Chocolate Brownie covered with Toasted Marshmallows. It’s topped with Graham Crackers & Hot Fudge. The Smore’s Bake is served piping hot & will satisfy your every craving for a campfire! For me this one is a little rich; delicious, but a little too much to call it my favorite dessert here.
The biggest hit at our table was Chef Cookie’s Chocolate Chip Deep Dish. A giant fresh out of the oven Chocolate Chip Cookie is topped with 3 large scoops of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream then drizzled with Hot Fudge. This thing was devoured so quickly that I was only able to get in one photo!
In addition to the Chocolate Chip Cookie, Big Thunder Ranch BBQ always offers a Seasonal Cookie Bake. Currently the seasonal cookie is a Sugar Cookie topped with three scoops of Pumpkin Ice Cream drizzled with Caramel.
I absolutely loved this seasonal dessert. The cookie was delicious and I’m a fan of anything pumpkin, so really a winner in my book. I hope to get this one more time before the Christmas holiday season hits!
Not only do you get a great meal here at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ, but there is also entertainment. Your meal is accompanied by live music and performances while you dine. There’s often some audience participation songs, birthday celebrations, instrumental performances, and if you’re lucky you’ll hear Tex Tumbleweed’s amazing whistling skills!
Overall, I am basically devastated that we are losing Big Thunder Ranch BBQ to Star Wars Land. Although I welcome the new land and can’t wait to see it, The Big Thunder Ranch BBQ has been one of my favorite Disneyland restaurants for as long as I can remember.
The food, ambiance, and service can’t be beat here. I love that fact that it’s family style. With two growing boys, I feel like we definitely get our money’s worth. I hope to get back a few more times before the closure. In the meantime I am going to cross my fingers for a relocation of the BBQ somewhere else. I vote for a Hungry Bear BBQ takeover!
Will you miss the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ? Do you plan to visit before is closes on January 11Th? Let us know in the comments below!